Speculation, rumor and suspicion have surrounded the success of long-time LaCucaracha resident Johnny Reese. Clearly one of LaCucaracha’s wealthiest residents, Reese worked at the Texaco station pumping gas for a few months after moving here, but hasn’t had a job since. Court records indicate he has never inherited a dime, yet his 1200 acre ranch is accented by a 9200 square foot mansion. Naturally, people started to talk – all except Reese that is.
Rumors suggested he was a member of an organized crime family, while others claimed he must be selling drugs over in Sintown. The 4th Pentecostal preacher alluded to Reese in a sermon a few years ago indicating the man must be serving the Prince of Darkness to have achieved that level of wealth. Active in the community and public service, Reese always dodged questions about “his business.”
Finally, the Texas Cockroach convinced Reese to sit down for an exclusive interview to reveal the secrets of his success. Reese explained he wasn’t always proud of how he made his money, but he wanted to set the record straight, once and for all.
TCR: Mr. Reese, how is that when everyone else’s business seems to head south, you’re buying a new fishing boat or 5th wheel for your deer lease? How do you make money so consistently – in good times or bad?
JR: First of all, I stay away from traditional investments such as the stock market or real estate. I invest in alternative markets, only when I have a real gut feeling about something.
TCR: So, you invest in junk bonds, penny stocks, that sort of thing?
JR: No, my first major investment was in Velvet Elvis Pictures.
TCR: Is that a movie studio?
JR: No, those paintings you hang on the wall, some folks call them a “Velvis.” They’re real soft to the touch. I was working at the Texaco, and had allowed this traveling gypsy to setup in our parking lot selling velvet Elvis paintings. It started pouring down rain, and he said, “Hey, I’ll give you half of whatever you can help me save.” I had these paintings hung all over the walls of my garage apartment, until I heard on the radio that Elvis had died. I sold them all in about 15 minutes for ten times what that roadside vendor was charging. That’s when I knew I was on to something.
TCR: Let me get this straight, you made your fortune selling velvet Elvis paintings?
JR: Oh heavens, no! Some of my best money was made in Beanie Babies, Pokemon trading cards and Franklin Mint Civil War commemorative chess sets. The secret is catching these trends at the very beginning and unloading before they end up on the shelves at Walmart or Target. Hello Kitty was a high end seller, until it moved to the mass marketplace – that’s when you bail out. When a trend hits LaCucaracha, then you know it’s completely dead.
TCR: Franklin Mint Civil War Chess sets? Seriously?
JR: Oh yes! People would see the commercials and get all excited and call the toll-free number. They didn’t realize you had to keep ordering a new chess piece every month at a ridiculous price. Everyone around here just ordered the Confederate side, so no one had a complete set. When I saw the commercials drop off the air, I drove straight to the factory and bought up most of their inventory for pennies on the dollar. Then, I’d take them around to Civil War reenactments and sell them for ten times what they charged on TV. If anyone balked, I’d say, “Remember, this is a signed and numbered limited edition. The molds have been broken, so they’ll only increase in value.” That trick always closed the deal.
TCR: What was your most recent jackpot story?
JR: One of the reasons I wouldn’t tell people how I made my money was out of embarrassment. For instance, I just bought out an entire Michael Jackson store on E-Bay two weeks before he went, well you know, crossed over—it’s not for me to judge where. People around LaCucaracha would have thought I was some kind of a freak having a warehouse full of MJ action dolls and collectibles. There was some weird crap in that store. It was safer for people to think I was dealing drugs.
TCR: So can you let us in on the next big thing? Just one tip?
JR: Remember those brightly colored Hawaiian-styled shorts in the 80s called Jams? They’re overdue for a comeback. Stubbies are due for a revival, too.